Potato Leek Soup


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It’s unseasonably warm but damp today. Crazily enough, once winter takes it’s hold, at least for me, I just wish it would put us into it’s full throws. Cold, crisp, freeze your the inside of your nose, crunchy snow kind of winter. I find it a little easier warming up from the cold rather than the damp which is why today, I needed a little extra help.

Quick, satisfying, revive you to your toes help, like potato leek soup.

Potato leek is virtually the premise for most vegan “cream” soups, which is what makes it so perfect.
The simplicity leaves for the attention to details like the perfect potato, consistency, herb combination and finishing drizzles of infused oils and the like. It’s a free pallet that’s open for individual taste, but no matter what your preference, the satisfaction is all there.

I choose to keep my soup fairly au natural as possible – garnish with what you will: herbs, infused oils, chillies, maybe croutons, then jazzing it up with some little bite sized Walnut Rosemary and Kalamata Madeleines.
Mmmm savoury and delicious.

 

CREAMLESS POTATO LEEK SOUP

2 Large Leeks, light green and white parts only
4 Cups Yukon Gold Potatoes, about 2 large, peeled & diced
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1/2 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, finely minced, about 1/2 teaspoon
2 Bay Leaves
6 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper or to taste

 

Top and trim the leeks. Halve lengthwise and rinse to remove any dirt between the layers. Thinly slice.
Peel and dice the potatoes.
In a large stockpot, heat the oil to medium-high.
Add the leeks to the oil and sweat until they are softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Pour over the wine and sauté for an additional minute.
Add the potatoes and stir well to prevent sticking.
Strip the leaves from the thyme stems by holding firmly and running your fingers backwards to the tip of the sprig. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stem and roughly chop. Add the leaves along with the stock, salt, and bay leaves. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
Add the pepper and remove the bay leaves.
Blend with a hand immersion blender or a food processor until smooth.
Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.

Garnish with truffle oil, chives, thyme, chilis or roasted garlic.

What’s Cooking This Chrismas: A Countdown To The Big Day



Obviously by doing this, the menu won’t be a surprise when we drive up Christmas afternoon to surprise my in-laws with dinner, but I couldn’t resist…
There’s something so wonderfully stressful and exciting about coming up with a Holiday feast menu. I just love a challenge.

The appetizers are covered. (Heck, you could even go vote for the only vegan party food represented in this contest I found myself in.)*wink.

The soup, I’m repeating from Thankgiving. It was a roasted cream of cauliflower and it’s just too good to not to serve up again. It’s snowy and pristine but the depths of flavours from so few ingredients are just so completely satisfying. Besides, this corner of my family hasn’t tasted it – yet.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

1 Large Head Cauliflower, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves
2 Shallots, finely minced
1 Potato, medium, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Cup water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Soy Milk
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch Smoked Paprika, optional

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Roughly chop cauliflower and toss into a shallow baking dish with garlic and about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Top everything with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Roast for about 30 minutes in middle of the oven, tossing after about first 15 minutes.

In a large stock pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the diced shallot until it’s just tender.
Add the roasted cauliflower and garlic, followed by the diced potato, vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaf.
Simmer for about a half and hour, or until cauliflower and potatoes are very tender.
Remove the bay leaf to purée soup. Blend until smooth.
Reheat soup on low and stir in soy milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
If using, sprinkle over smoked paprika to serve.

If you’re going vegetarian, try serving with a smoked gouda topped crostini.

Serves 4 – 6.

Mushroom Barley Soup


Baby it’s cold outside.
We just returned home from a sunny family vacation and were greeted with snowflakes.
Not exactly the homecoming I had in mind.

Needless to say, our cupboards were pretty bare of all things fresh, so the visit to the grocery store filled the cart and this week’s menu with produce filled warmth. Planned soups, stews and stuffed pastas were top of mind.
Those first flickers of snow whipped my memories of the beach to thoughts of cold toes and hearty lunches.
Along with onions, celery and carrots, the mushrooms were on the top of the bag, so they were the first in the pot. An old favourite from a little school on Toronto Island, this I knew was sure to please.

GARTH’S MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Onions, finely diced
1 Carrot, finely diced
1 Celery Stalk, finely diced
1 pound Mushrooms, white button or crimini, sliced
12 Cups Water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 Cup Pot Barley
3 Tablespoons Tamari

Heat oil in a large stockpot.
Add diced onions to the oil and sweat
Add the diced carrots and celery to the onion and continue to sauté until soft.
Add the sliced mushrooms, water and salt.
When boiling add and tamari.
Reduce heat to a rolling simmer and cook until barley is puffed and soft, at least 30 minutes
Adjust seasoning adding more tamari or freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup


Needless to say we all like soup in this house. Nothing beats a warm bowl on a cold day. Well, maybe that warm bowl with some of that fresh bread I’ve finally been able to be baking…

Red peppers, to me, are one of those amazing vegetables. You see, I absolutely, without a doubt hate it’s cousin the green pepper, but a red one, especially a freshly roasted one? I will put in and on just about everything.

Roasting the peppers take about as long as the soup, so it’s a quick and delicious lunch…. So quick, I was very glad to have photographed it first, since the pot did not last.
Continue reading Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup


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VEGAN CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP

2 Tbsp oil
1 Onion diced (red if you can)
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 C Dried porcini or shitake mushrooms
4 C Sliced mushrooms – white, porcini, portabello, shitaki approx. 2 medium portabellos and 6 cremini. (the earthier the mushroom the richer the flavor)
3T Cognac (optional)
1 Potato (peeled and cubed)
2T Flour
1 Sprig of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2T Large leaf parsley (finely chopped)
10 C Water
1 C Soy milk
2T Arrowroot powder

Method

In a large bowl cover the dried mushrooms with 6 cups of boiling water. Allow the mushrooms to re-hydrate for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel to reserve the liquid. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside.

Prepare the onion and garlic and heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent (about 2 minutes), add the cognac and cook the alcohol down for about 1 minute. Add the raw mushrooms and in batches if necessary not to overcrowd the pot for about another 2 minutes. Listen for a persistent sizzle, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.
Add the re-hydrated mushrooms, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Toss the mushrooms with the flour, stir to coat.
Add the reserved liquid from the mushrooms and the remaining 4 cups of water, scraping any “bits” from the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and bring the soup to a rolling simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once the potato is soft, remove and discard the rosemary sprig and reserve about 1 cup of the mushrooms, stir in chopped parsley and set aside.

Purée the soup using a immersion blender or in batches with a food processor.
Dissolve the arrowroot powder in the cold soy milk and drizzle mixture into the hot soup.
Adjust seasoning.

Serve garnished with reserved mushrooms and brushed garlic crustini.